Friday, February 15, 2013

Offseason Review: The Colorado Rockies

New Rockies Manager Walt Weiss
Know how a team hasn't had a very substantial offseason? When you look at my reviews of that team and see a guy like Walt Weiss heading up the page. I'm really not sure where the Rockies are headed or trying to head. Last year was a disaster, finishing third worst in all of Major League Baseball with a 64-98 record, largely thanks to injuries and zero sustainable pitching.  
In the wake of their terrible year, the Rox manager Jim Tracy resigned to make way for former Rockie Walt Weiss, who was actually coaching a high school baseball team at the time of his hire.  I don't mind this deal for the Rockies as they aren't expected to contend in the slightest in 2013 and Weiss is not without his baseball experience. Aside from coaching a high school team, he was a special adviser to the Rockies front office for a number of years.  Putting a baseball mind like Weiss through the mill has a good chance of accelerating his development as a coach and enhancing his ability to handle difficult situations. If worse comes to worse, he's also an expendable piece of a puzzle that needs to be drastically rebuilt.

Should-Be-Trade-Bait Michael Cuddyer
Other than that, the Rockies moves have been quiet and largely disagreeable. Last year the Rockies counterintuitively signed slugger Michael Cuddyer, which made sense no matter which way the team headed as he could either turn in to a cornerstone or a trade chip. Now that the future is nothing short of abysmal for Colorado it seems inevitable that their few remaining competent players could turn expendable. On the contrary, according to Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd plan on holding on to the aging Cuddyer even in the face of their almost certain futility in 2013. The Rockies need for pitching goes beyond desire and hinges on necessity; and the Rockies have looked so shabby that names like Tulowitzki and Gonzalez have been asked on, so why a player like Cuddyer who COULD net extra pitching isn't on the block is absolutely beyond me.

Yorvit Torrealba returns to Coors Field in 2013,
pending acceptance in to major league roster.
I find it offensive to a fan base to ignore the years of peak performance a superstar is giving you, and that's what the Rockies are doing to two of their players.  Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are BOTH players who could be built around but are instead being ignored.  Trading for Wilton Lopez and bringing back Jeff Francis and Yorvit Torrealba won't be difference makers in 2013, which is fine because 2013 is already a lost season. What COULD be done is trading players like Cuddyer (and his two remaining price-certain, controlled years) for potentially decent prospects who could be ready to help out in the waning years of CarGo and Tulo's prime. Enough money has been poured in to those two players to hint that it might be imperative.

This offseason, however, suggests otherwise. The spending and risk-taking has been stingy and there is very little indication that the Rockies are interested in last year not being representative of their immediate future.  There is less than zero room for error for Colorado and time has already expired to change that.  Unfortunately for fans of the Blake Street Bombers, unless something drastic happens, their two excellent fixtures may appear a whole lot less fixed sooner than later.  To Dan O'Dowd's credit, one of the best moves I've seen by a GM in the past several years was trading hotheaded ace Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians for Drew Pomeranz and other promising young prospects. Jimenez has declined immensely since then and Pomeranz has made his way in to the Rox starting rotation. We'll see if that kind of strategic thinking repeats itself in the years to come, but for 2013 I see Colorado getting smothered at the bottom of their division.

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